Differences in the relative potency of SR 141716A and AM 251 as antagonists of various in vivo effects of cannabinoid agonists in C57BL/6J mice

Lance R. McMahon, Wouter Koek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Although the cannabinoid CB1 antagonist N-(piperidin-1-yl)-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide (SR 141716A) blocks many of the in vivo effects of cannabinoids, the antagonist activity of SR 141716A is limited under some conditions. The general aims of this study were to: 1) examine whether the limited antagonist activity of SR 141716A generalizes to the cannabinoid CB1 antagonist N-(piperidin-1-yl)-5-(4-iodophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-1H-pyrazole-3-carboxamide (AM 251); and 2) examine mechanisms by which cannabinoids produce hypothermia, catalepsy, and hypoactivity in C57BL/6J mice. SR 141716A and AM 251 were administered alone and in combination with the cannabinoid agonists {up triangle, open}9-tetrahydrocannabinol ({up triangle, open}9-THC) and R-(+)-[2,3-dihydro-5-methyl-3-[(morpholinyl)-methyl]pyrrolol-[1,2,3-de]-1,4-benzoxazinyl]-(1-naphthalenyl) methanone (WIN 55212-2). {up triangle, open}9-THC and WIN 55212-2 produced catalepsy, hypothermia, and hypoactivity with similar potency; WIN 55212-2 produced greater hypothermia than {up triangle, open}9-THC, otherwise differences in maximal effect were not detected in the other assays. When administered alone, the antagonists did not produce catalepsy or alter body temperature and they decreased locomotor activity. SR 1417167A and AM 251 blocked catalepsy and hypothermia, and partially attenuated hypoactivity, produced by {up triangle, open}9-THC and WIN 55212-2. While the antagonists were equipotent in blocking agonist-induced hypothermia, SR 141716A was 6-fold more potent than AM 251 in blocking agonist-induced catalepsy. The results demonstrate that SR 141716A and AM 251 have strikingly similar behavioral activity, i.e., they block some and not other in vivo effects of cannabinoid agonists, and further demonstrate differences in the maximum effect of cannabinoid agonists that might be related to differences in agonist efficacy. While the results strongly suggest that cannabinoid CB1 receptors mediate the hypothermic and cataleptic effects of cannabinoids, differences in the relative potency of antagonists suggest that mechanisms responsible for these effects are not identical.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-76
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 13 2007


  • AM 251
  • Cannabinoid
  • SR 141716A
  • WIN 55212-2
  • {up triangle, open}-tetrahydrocannabinol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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